Is drug business back in a big way?

Topic |  

Is drug business back in a big way?

Topic |  

PEOPLE NOTICE AN INCREASING number of arrests and quantity of drugs being confiscated in the province at the onset of the new administration. Just recently, an “innocent” courier was in possession of a huge P8.5 million worth of shabu for delivery in the seaside town of Dauis, the gateway to a tourist haven (Panglao).

That’s a lot of drug addicts to service with that fantabulous quantity. The problem on the demand (user) side had hardly moved despite the harsh approach of the past Duterte administration against the menace, wherein some extreme estimates point to 20,000  drug personalities killed in the drug campaign.

Some 1.8 million Filipinos still use shabu and 4.8 million admit having used illegal drugs at least once in their lifetime in the country. That is not a small number when one measures the horrible social cost of having just one drug addict in the family.

There are two ways to look at this development in Bohol. It is either the authorities have sharpened their intelligence or expanded their spy network resulting in more arrests; on the other hand “perceived” laxity in the drug watch could have encouraged the drug lords to push their luck stronger and bet on bigger shipments.


On the supply side, the drug trade would only significantly flourish if government officials and law enforcement agents tolerate or are in cahoots with the nefarious drug dealers. That explains why in July 2016, President Rudy Duterte named five generals as active in the drug trade at the start of his regime. It was precisely to cut off the head of this monster. 

In Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s era, his DILG chief (Benhur Aalos) said 10 generals and colonels are drug influencers and asked for the courtesy resignation of 1,000 of these ranking officers. For the same reason Duterte made his move.

That is the reason, the top provincial police honcho Col. Lorenzo Batuan also reshuffled his men -to get rid of some highly placed individuals who he sensed are not true assets of his anti-drug war.

There are also wildly swirling rumors that the 1.3 kilo recently apprehended was ready for “retail distribution” with the discovery of “sachets of shabu” inside the “shoe box” of the apprehended motorcycle of the courier.

Initial intelligence probes seem to indicate that remaining bad elements inside the Muntinlupa Bilibid Penitentiary are in touch with their “local” jailbird contacts to facilitate a “nationwide” distribution of illegal stuff. As it were, the Bilibid is the national market headquarters and the provincial jails are their “branches” of ill repute.

But then again, there could be no nationwide trade without cellular phones inside the jails. A quick greyhound check-up in the local jail seems necessary now in order to ferret out the illegals inside the prison cells. Pronto.


In the island provinces, drugs come in the natural entry points (ports and airports), thrown to sea in waterproof bags and retrieved or manufactured on the sly in business warehouses and private homes in subdivisions. Not daily can authorities have “sniffing” trained dogs in the entry points nor can the wide coastline of the province enable tight guarding. There are loopholes.


So far, no presence of makeshift “drug laboratories” in Bohol has been uncovered.  (It does not mean they do not exist, either). But surely, we can tell in the coming weeks whether more “big-time” hauls of the illegal substance will be reported again in the province. If there is more, it is both a victory and a shame. Shame that authorities have not been able to contain the massive drug movements.

In both containment of supply and the reduction of demand, the Barangay Anti-Drug- Abuse Councils  (BADAC) that have been set up by the force of law are critical for the success of the anti-drug campaign. Educational campaigns and a drug matrix to classify each and every household in the barangays are two ways to skin the cat.

They should provide intelligence to and assist the police in conducting drug raids. They should provide a monthly report to their respective towns to be collated and reported to the provincial high command to ferret the facts and carry out strategic anti-drug plans.


Since these barangay councils are the nearest heartbeat to the constituents in the community, drug proliferation in their localities can be considered the council’s failure. The council therefore should also have its own “cleansing” of personnel every now and then.

Is Big-time Drug trafficking back in Bohol? Only if we allow it.



THE COMMON TAO  can rightly get confused why if RP showed a high 7.6% GDP growth rate in 2022 (the highest in 46 years) why are millions still reporting to be suffering from hunger in recent surveys? Two possible reasons.

One is that the GDP growth rate of 7.6% is almost erased by the 5.8% inflation rate ( the rate at prices of goods go up) and even erased totally by the last quarter’s high 8.1% inflation rate. Juan de la Cruz is even worse off in that latter case.

Two, there is so much economic disparity between riches and poverty between the rich and the poor such that when one speaks of a 7.6% GDP growth rate, the lion-size portion of that growth is swallowed (pun intended) by the rich, with little impact on the poor. Why do you think more Filipinos are reaching the Top 500 richest in the world despite the so-called hobbling economy through the pandemic years?

Moreover, the government should be honest in releasing economic statistics and include the GDP in (absolute amounts) not in (mere) growth rates for people to appreciate the essential meaning of the latter better. To note the RP economy slid by a horrendous negative (-9%) in 2020, bringing down the absolute value of the GDP to the pits.

Before the economic managers rest on their laurels, Fitch and Moody’s -two respected risk evaluators in the world expect the RP economic growth rate to slow down to less than 5% this year against the reddish rosy 6-7% projections of the economic team. The high-interest rates obtaining now will contribute to the slowdown.

And unless President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. comes to his senses and listens to his NEDA advisers that he now needs a full-time Agriculture Secretary, food security and prices will continue to go through the roof and nurture high inflation.

Junior is stubbornly hanging on to his interim kingship of the agriculture world – justifying that when he makes a directive as president, everyone follows, implicitly saying a secretary of agriculture cannot muster obedience.

Beg his pardon, there is one law that does not obey presidential mandates and edicts- that is the law of supply and demand. That needs day-by-day management including throwing the smugglers and hoarders into the worst kind of jails possible. A 24-hour 7 days week agri -boss is needed.

The scoundrels are obviously not afraid of the president- because how else can one explain the continued shortages in sugar, onions and now eggs, good gracious. With an agri head, the latter can even accompany the military in raiding illegal warehouses and sea smugglers who disrupt the equilibrium of supplies. Can a sitting president- with hundreds of chores- do that?

Even the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has recognized the weakness of our agriculture which has always contributed not more than 15% of the GDP for decades and is giving its $500-M in loans and aid. Let’s be frank- if it were a patient our agriculture industry is in the ICU.

People cannot eat economic numbers and up to this point, a 7.6% GDP growth is meaningless as the masses toil through debilitating poverty and face their capacity to provide adequate food on the table getting diminished by the day due to high prices.

Let’s get to brass tacks- and set aside the illuminated economic numbers- bright as lightning with thunder and cymbals- signifying nothing. Or almost.Unfortunately.

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